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Friday, December 13, 2013

Mysterious Hollering Dude Returns

It is 45 minutes until the sun will be up.  I have managed to squeeze into every article of clothing that I own and waddle myself, fat as a tick, down the street and toward the bus stop.  It is cold out, the kind of cold that will make the forecast of zero later in the week seem positively balmy.  Standing at the corner, waiting for the traffic to pass, I blink several times in an effort to clear what I suspect may be a thin layer of ice from my eyeballs.

It has been quite some time since I’ve seen him, and holy moley, there he is.

“Mornin’!”, he says.

I step to one side while Mike – was his name Mike? – zips by on a bicycle.

“Morning!” I call.

I haven’t seen him in well over a year. 

Honestly, it’s just not that kind of relationship.

I live in a city and, like anywhere else, there are routines.  I may not know you, but I know that you go to Starbucks.  I know that you get off the bus four stops before me.  I know that you have a dog and should hit that black wool coat of yours with one of those sticky-tape rolls…  But I don’t know where you go when I don’t see you.  And sometimes, that bothers me.  These people we see every day but don’t really know, do they feel the same way about us? 

I will board the bus shortly.  I will see the man with the sculpted facial hair, the one whose clothes smell like cigarette smoke.  I will see the older woman with the impeccable lipstick and the strikingly beautiful white hair.  I will see the man in inadequate winter gear, the man with the profile of Aztec royalty. 

Am I the woman in the sleeping-bag coat, the blonde with the iPod earbud in one ear?


And I turn to watch Mike – and his bicycle – already a block away, his tail light blinking redly into the distance.

25 comments:

Johanna Hyland said...

Makes me wonder too! I will be looking with different eyes now at those routine people in my days.

Camille said...

And don't forget your notepad. I can only suppose they think you're with a secret government agency with all that note taking you do. Keep them wondering Pearl.

Delores said...

The endless flow of people in and out of our lives...standing on the sidelines...fading into the shadows. Who are they? Where are they when we can't see them? Do they wonder about us? Does it matter?

Eileen Black said...

First--best wishes in surviving that crazy COLD. I'd send you some more warm clothes but I'm wearing all of mine. As for those people on the edge of our routines--they make such good blog fodder and entertainment and add a bit of humanity to our lives.

Eileen Black said...

p.s. Looks like my identity has changed since I got suckered in to Google Plus. This is Leenie formerly of the crow icon.

jenny_o said...

This is the difference between city living and being in a small town: where I live there are few strangers, little privacy and no mystery!

vanilla said...

You are definitely that woman, all right.

Jenny Woolf said...

I'd certainly remember anyone who was on a bike in below freezing weather. Slipping on black ice leaves indelible memories....

Busy Bee Suz said...

I too love to people watch and I seem to see some of the same peeps here and there.
I often wonder if they are thinking: Does that little blonde LIVE at Target?

Elephant's Child said...

I think it is my pheronomes. Bus travellers adopt me (particularly those with mental illness). And I run into them everywhere - and they introduce their families to me too.
People watching with a little interaction is a part of my world, and I love being invited into yours. Thank you.

Gigi said...

We are on the same wave-length, Pearlie, as I was just realizing that I won't see that lady who used to give me me my diet coke fix every day at Chick-Fil-a anymore since we moved and wondered if I should take a run over there to let her know I've moved. You know, so she won't worry about me.

Daisy said...

I guess for those you don't know, you will just have to make up their stories. :)

Have a great weekend, Pearl!

Badger said...

There you are! I always thought 'fat as a tick' was an Australian expression but here you are using it in America.

Sioux's Page said...

Pearl--You have a way of writing about ordinary things and transforming them into something extraordinary.

Joanne Noragon said...

We've missed him. Welcome by, Mike.

bill lisleman said...

This does make me wonder if anyone I didn't know but had seen me on a regular basis missed my absence.
Even in my suburban neighborhood there are dog walkers who I've seen many times but don't know where they go. As long as they pick up after they dog I guess I don't need to know.

River said...

How nice to see Mike again after all this time.
I find it hard to imagine you waddling, fat as a tick, towards the bus stop.

Diane Tolley said...

Yes, Tick attire here, too!
It's the people on the fringes who make the best stories. The main characters make the story. It's the supporting characters make the story interesting.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Ah the wide and wonderful public. That is the job of ticks, to watch and decide which of those others to latch on to. Today, it was Mike. Bless him.

Bless you. YAM xx

Linda O'Connell said...

The uniqueness of each of us is more pronounced some days more than others.

Pauline said...

We're all just stories walking around.

Ray Denzel said...

A fashionable look for any bus stop, I am sure 😂

wellfedfred said...

I loved reading this, thank you.

Suldog said...

You lied. You didn't beat up an old man OR complain about the number of wheelchairs on the bus. I am sorely disappointed.

Not really. The reason your "evil" moment worked yesterday is because you're so damn nice the rest of the time. And good for you.

HermanTurnip said...

Fight Club instantly pops into mind after reading this post.

"The people I meet on each flight -- they're single-serving friends. Between take-off and landing, we have our time together, but that's all we get."